vBulletin 5 Connect is almost here, and the IB QA team is busily trying to set up a test environment up at http://vbtest.biz, using data imported from the production/live vbulletin.com forum installation.
Problem is, they didn’t think to password protect the forum, and a good number of posts in the forums have debug information attached to each one, including the poster’s IP address. The main forum page also lists a startling 307 database queries in its debug information.
I found this vbtest.biz site when going through my own servers logs. There was an entry to an image I referenced on vbulletin.com, and the post that this image referenced was was imported into vbtest.biz.
The site now redirects to vbulletin.com, and my thread was locked for bringing attention to it. In the past. they’ve locked threads referencing vbtest.biz. Even when it was found that the main “forums” link on vbulletin.com was directing to this test site for a short period of time, without any explanation.
Silly IB. I’m sure they’ll come up with a good excuse for it. Sounds like the vBulletin 5 Connect testing is almost ready to be launched on vBulletin.com!
Hopefully they leave debug off.
UPDATE: vBulletin 5.0 BETA 10 was released to the public for purchase on 9/11/2012, with disappointing reviews. Many more features are missing from the original release, and there are restrictive changes to the new license. Buyer beware.
There’s been another leaked communication from a survey that Invision Brands sent to customers of the vBulletin Mobile Sweet. In in, the survey asks customers…
Due to heavy demand for the next version of vBulletin coupled with our commitment to releasing it with the best quality possible, we are considering releasing vBulletin 5 Connect in phases,meaning that not all of its components will be immediately available at launch. If we choose this path, the vBulletin 5 Connect-compatible version of the Mobile Suite will be one of those delayed components. Were this to happen, which of the following do you feel would be the best option for your situation when vBulletin 5 Connect launches?
- Upgrade to vBulletin 5 Connect and possibly wait a few months until the vBulletin 5 Connect-compatible version of the Mobile Suite is ready (your current mobile app will be unusable during this period).
- Switch to the branded version of the Forum Runner Mobile App TEMPORARILY until the vBulletin 5 Connect-compatible version of the Mobile Suite is Ready (you will need to invest $299 for setup and your members would need to download the new app). When the new Mobile Suite app is ready, you will be able to switch back. The Mobile Suite’s annual renewal fee, due on the date of your ORIGINAL purchase, is $99.
This rankled up customers who were promised that vBulletin 5 was going to be released by the end of the year, with the same features of vBulletin 4. In addition, it proves that vBulletin didn’t really think about its recent purchase of the Forum Runner forum applcation, which provides the same features, and can directly compete with, the vBulletin Mobile Suite. Invision Brands is in such a mess, they moved almost all vBulletin 4 development (including the mobile suite) to work on vBulletin 5. That means the buggy mobile suite won’t be fixed for a while, if at all, because vBulletin 5 is to be released within 4 months. On top of that, the next version of vBulletin 4 (4.2.1) is ready to be released, but can’t because it is dependent on the mobile suite changes being released.
It appears vBulletin customers saw this type of thing coming, even questioning Invision Brand’s intent to keep the mobile suite development going after it had made the Forum Runner purchase.
Lawrence Cole, marketing and operations manager of vBulletin, finally responded with a confirmation that the version of vB 5 won’t have the same features as vB 4 when it’s released….
vBulletin is a licensed forum software package that has been stagnant and bug-ridden since version 4 was released in 2009.
Joe Rosenblum, CTO of Internet Brands, has promised that the next version of vBulletin (version 5) will be released “later this year ”.
If you were holding off on upgrading your vBulletin 3.x due to the reported problems and lack of features of vBulletin 4, there shouldn’t be any need to upgrade until vBulletin 5 is available for public scrutiny.
vBulletin 4 licensing allows an individual to pay for a license and receive all updates and bug fixes during that vB4 life cycle. vBulletin 5 licensing hasn’t been announced, but it will almost certainly carry a different license to purchase.
Why pay for a vBulletin4 license, and then have to pay for a separate vBulletin5 license within 6 months?
The next version of vBulletin will be launched later this year. It will entail a next-generation forum product with a modernized community experience. The product will provide increasing social functionality, improving content management and streamlining site set-up and administration.
The worldwide introduction of the new version of vBulletin will be made at a special press event at ForumCon, just before the kick off of the day’s formal agenda. Media, developers, and forum owners that are interested in a first look at the newest product can arrive early for the event which will kick off at 8:15am.
Also, vBulletin will be extending a $25 discount to all ForumCon attendees that are interested in purchasing the newest version when it is formally released! Be on the lookout for your unique discount code in your registration packet you receive upon arrival.
UPDATE 1/19: Internet Brands has allowed me a partial refund, minus a $35 “processing fee”, whatever that is, I can’t find it documented anywhere on their site. Oh well, I’ll feel better knowing I’m not locked into vBulletin anymore. The company’s last reponse is at the bottom. Notice how they still refuse to acknowledge that their software is buggy or that customers are complaining about it.
I too was suckered into taking Internet Brands approach of “taking a risk” (their words) of purchasing their new vBullletin 4.0 Publishing Suite. A purchase Internet Brands encouraged licensed owners to buy prior to seeing anything about vBulletin 4.0.
Well, I got a hold of it, tried to install it to a test server, and after a few database problems, which I don’t know were vB related, or had to do with my version of MySQL or the existing database, I got it almost running.
Almost, meaning the CMS didn’t work as described, which didn’t mean a lot to me, as I’m not too interested in the CMS at the moment.
But then I got a lot of problems with search results. I can’t even figure out why search is only working half assed. It seems vBulletin is indexing only random posts, even after rebuilding the search indexes. This is a known problem even on vBulletin.com forums. Just try searching for something on the vBulletin site itself. The search speed seemed to be longer also, even getting one PHP timeout, but I need to do more tests on that to see if it’s really vBulletin choking on that.
The other problems I noticed, and confirmed by other people, was various issues the hybrid/threaded modes of the forum. Not many people use this feature, but I do, and some people insist on it, and it was a working feature in vBulletin 3.8. Sometimes the hybrid mode works, other times it doesn’t, and it doesn’t seem to matter what browser I’m using.
The other problems with vBulletin seem to be css related or template issues with other products or customizations, just from the limited experience I’ve had with it. Note that I haven’t tried to add any modifications or templates to my test base, which is barely functional for a production environment. I’m glad I didn’t try to do a full converstion from 3.8 to 4.0
The Licensed Customer Feedback forum of vBulletin is full of complaints from licensed customers, wondering when the bugs will be worked out. Internet Brands has been trying to release a 4.01 version, but it’s been pushed back.
There isn’t any word about what 4.01 is supposed to include, but hopefully around 100 of the most severe bugs are fixed, resolved, or at least addressed.
All this heartache made we ask vBulletin for a refund for the Publishing Suite which I purchased. Some people had received refunds so I thought I’d give it a try. I was denied a refund by Internet Brands because they thought my reasons for a refund weren’t justified.
So I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (you should too if you’re denied a refund). Here was my complaint: